Sony (NYSE: SNE) calls it a device for people who “want to experience music through movement,” but what is Rolly exactly? It’s a baseball-sized digital music player that rolls and spins as if it’s dancing to the music it plays. According to Sony, Rolly is now available in its retail stores, Sony Style. The company is touting it as a small manifestation of recent internal advancements in artificial intelligence, design, and entertainment, though they admit that its purpose is entirely based on “fun.” Vice president of marketing for audio at Sony Electronics Brennan Mullin said, “Rolly has the ability to attract your attention as soon as you turn it on. It’s a tremendous example of what can happen when entertainment and technology merge.”
Rolly achieves its high-quality sound by using two 180-degree, horizontally opposing speakers. The impetus behind the speaker design is omni-directional listening ability; you should be able to hear Rolly’s tunes loud and clear, no matter where it is relative to you. Rolly is also designed to take advantage of whatever surface it’s operating on, bouncing sound off the ground with a powerful digital amp and neodymium magnet speakers.
Rolly has six moving parts: pairs of arms, shoulders and wheels. When Rolly plays music, these moving parts work in concert with its 700-color light rings. The device contains 2GB flash memory, which can store up to 520 songs in MP3 format. Rolly’s battery power is enough to keep it pumping out tunes for up to five hours, or four hours if it’s dancing as well. Included with the device is special choreography software that will allow users to teach Rolly dances to their favorite songs. Rolly comes in black or white, and sells for $400.